Arrivals and Departures then and now

Often books written long ago and now forgotten shed much light on the present. An example recently read is James Jupp’s 1966 Arrivals and Departures on post- World War II immigration to Australia. He shows how Australian policymakers engaged in endless self-congratulation about what a success the program had been and how welcoming they were […]

Have Australians become more conservative?

Interesting debate at John Quiggin on whether the election revealed a rightward shift by Australian voters. Left-inclined posters keen to deny this, but the evidence seems irrefutable. Consider two key issues: immigration and greenhouse policy. Conservatives have long been anxious about the decline of Anglo-Australia particularly since the 1970s when non-Anglo immigrants became assertive and […]

British lessons for Labor

Some interesting observations from The Independent’s Steve Richards on British Labour’s excessive caution and centralisation of leadership.  that seem very relevant to the ALP. First referring to hopeful suggestions from the new British government about prison reform as part of a general evaluation of New Labour’s  ‘reformism’:

Labor goes back to 1997?

In many respects modern Labor has returned to the type of inward musing that it engaged in after 1996. Then there was an assortment of vaguely defined rhetoric about the party’s perceived excessive social liberalism, these critics however were very vague as to exactly what alternative policies they proposed, instead they preferred to focus on […]

British Labour’s Australian road?

Will British Labour spend less time in opposition than Australian Labor did after its last federal defeat in 1996? The signs are not encouraging,  it may be that British Labour will follow in the footsteps of Australian Labor after 1996. Australian Labor rallied behind Kim Beazley after its 1996 defeat. Beazley was popular and unifying […]

Immigration, race and popular environmentalism

The curious fact about the recent population controversy is the absence of any historical context. Since the early 1970s immigration has been a theme of conservative campaigns in Australia, before then it was Labor that wrapped itself in the banner of White Australia.  The conservative critique of immigration came direct from Britain where the Conservatives […]

Hispanics in the US

Interesting report from Pew on the perceptions of young American Hispanics: it is clear that many of today’s Latino youths, be they first or second generation, are straddling two worlds as they adapt to the new homeland. According to the Pew Hispanic Center’s National Survey of Latinos, more than half (52%) of Latinos ages 16 […]

Voting against the Greens & race and the Liberals


After the weekend by-elections in which the Liberals easily retained the safe seats of Higgins and Bradfield a spate of commentary alleging a revival of Liberal fortunes. It is difficult to interpret contests in which Labor did not run a candidate, but the argument is that the Liberal margin over the Greens at the by-election […]

Global futures

Gallup migration

In teaching Australian Identities: Indigenous & Multicultural I include some big picture speculation about the future. I draw on Jeffrey Williamson’s 2003 Noel Butlin lecture on world factor migrations and demographic transitions. Williamson describes how 19th century migration was driven by the desire of the young to escape European overpopulation and poverty for the much […]

Catholic activists and racism

Interesting to note the incorporation of Australian Catholic conservatives into the Australian conservative movement. This is apparent in the recent anti-Muslim rhetoric of Greg Sheridan and Kevin Andrews which echoes themes of less prominent Catholic activists such as Bill Muehelberg and Cory Bernardi. This is an interesting shift. Defence of White Australia was a core […]